I know most people are trying to tell you that Derrick Rose has been bad at basketball since his knee surgeries, he’s washed up and injury prone, you had to “Derrick Rose the knee up before you got the re-up” because it’s that Drizzy Drake and that’s just the way it go. Doubters will doubt. I’m here to provide you with some alternative facts…Except these ones are actually true!! I’m not going to use many numbers, I am just going to give you what somebody who studies the game closely sees when they watch him at this stage in his career.
Lets start with the bad to make it clear that I don’t think he has been perfect so far this season:
Pick & Roll D: Rose’s pick & roll defense has been sub par, somebody of his athletic caliber should be better especially with the work he clearly puts into his game. With that said, the Knicks have also had A LOT of miscommunications behind him-defending the pick & roll relies heavily on communication. There have been many times that Rose has stared somebody down after a play in discontent with what was going on behind him. Who knows, maybe that has been part of the problem.
Off-Ball D: Rose has always had a tendency to lose his man defensively, even this year this might have cost his team some points by losing his man for a second or two-in the NBA that’s all it takes to get beat
3 point shooting: D Rose has been AWFUL from three since his surgeries. This year he has almost completely cut it out from his game. But honestly, the form on his jump shot looks good in the mid range and this is verified by how well he has shot from the free throw line (87% as of February 6th). It’s going to sound crazy, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see D Rose shoot at least “above average” 3 before his career is over add this to the positives and you’ve got somebody who is actually worthy of a max contract.
Finishing at the Rim: D Rose has shown he can still get to the rim as well or better than anybody in the league, but I still think he has left some points on the board with shots that somebody with his abilities can and probably will convert in the future.
Explosiveness: So here’s the deal- D Rose is damn near exactly as explosive as he was before his injuries. As of late he has been finishing above the rim again, and he has been truly attacking the rim and big defenders bodies when the time calls for it. Just because he is not dunking as many balls as he used to does not mean he is not as explosive. Rose is trying to be as efficient with everything as possible, that includes dunking the ball. Think about it- the defense knows he does not want to shoot a 3 pointer-yet he has still been able to get to the rim at will. Which leads me into the next part of my scouting report…
Mid-Range Game: D Rose’s mid-range game is solid, I am not sure exactly what his numbers are here, but it is clear to me he spent a lot of time working on it because it looks effortless to me. Defenses are so afraid of him blowing by them that it does not take much effort for Rose to create enough space to get his mid-range shots off. D Rose has added the off foot lay up and still has his strong floater game too.
Clutch: Rose has always been tough in the final minutes of the game, at least to my eye. Even when he was working his way back from the surgeries with the Bulls he had game winners vs the Knicks in 2013, at Golden State in 2015, the bank shot against the Cavs in the 2015 playoffs, as well as a lot of big time plays for the Knicks this season in the final minutes of games (some of which the Knicks have still found ways to lose).
Mental: Rose looks to me like he has a pretty good idea of what he is going to see from defenses on a nightly basis. In my opinion he is making the right reads on the court most of the time, whether or not those end in points or assists every possession is a different story.
Attitude: This sounds like the corniest part of this report, but it might actually be the most important. Rose has shown an incredibly positive attitude and appears to have grown as a leader. He has remained focused on the process of getting better every day. It actually looks like he is enjoying himself on the floor. On occasion I still scratch my head at some things he says in interviews, but hey I’m not judging…
Defenses still fear D Rose and there is a lot of room for growth. I have no idea what is going to happen to the Knicks this season and beyond, but I am willing to bet that D Rose is going to do better than his current 18 points and 4.5 assists per game before long.